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Location Tanzania, Kigoma,Shinyanga,Tabora
Central coordinates 31o 30.00' East  4o 40.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 1,300,000 ha
Altitude 1,000 - 1,300m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description This site, situated in the interior of western Tanzania, is a vast wetland system of limited access, even in the dry season. During times of peak flood the flood-plains of the Malagarasi, Moyowosi, Nikonga, Kigosi and Gombe rivers cover nearly 1,000,000 ha and the permanent swamps along the margins of the rivers and lakes extend over 350,000 ha. The riverine vegetation is dominated by Borassus and Phoenix palms with stands of Acacia woodland along the margins of the flood-plain. The higher ground between the rivers is cloaked in BrachystegiaJulbernardia woodland with patches of groundwater forest in areas with a high water-table. The Moyowosi and Malagarasi rivers both rise in the highlands of Burundi, while the Nikonga, Kigosi and Gombe rivers drain the central plateau south and south-east of Lake Victoria. These rivers join to the east of Uvinza and drain into Lake Tanganyika, 40 km south of Kigoma. The central railway between Tabora and Kigoma crosses the southern edge of the wetland, separating it (except during wet years when the whole area is inundated) from the Ugalla river wetland system (TZ019).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Saddlebill Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis winter  1992  539 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba winter  1995  802 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Shoebill Balaeniceps rex resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Shoebill Balaeniceps rex winter  1990  1,473 individuals  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus winter  1992  506 individuals  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Great Snipe Gallinago media winter  1995  44 individuals  A1  Near Threatened 
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus winter  1995  2,400 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kigosi Game Reserve 70,000,000 protected area contained by site 700,000  
Malagarasi-Muyovozi Wetlands Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 325,000,000 protected area contains site 1,300,000  
Moyowosi Game Reserve 60,000,000 protected area contained by site 600,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   13%
Shrubland   34%
Grassland   1%
Forest   50%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry -
hunting -
nature conservation and research -

Other biodiversity Among mammals, populations of Loxodonta africana (EN) have declined from an estimated 27,279 to 1,400; Lycaon pictus (EN) still occurs.

References Baker (1997), Hill and Jones (1994), Hughes and Hughes (1992), Huish and Campbell (1991), Mutch (1973, 1977), Parker (1984).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Moyowosi - Kigosi Game Reserves. Downloaded from on 30/07/2014

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